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Author:Rev. Todd Bordow
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Congregation:Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church
 Fort Worth, Texas
 www.opcfw.com
 
Title:Jesus is our Exodus
Text:Matthew 2:15 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Our Salvation
 
Preached:2003
Added:2004-02-27
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Todd Bordow, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


The second half of Matthew 2:15 is meant to stop you in your tracks. You are to stop and ask some questions. Matthew is relating how Joseph received a warning from the angel about Herod; about Herod's plan to kill the Child. So Matthew records how Joseph takes Mary and the baby Jesus and escapes by night into Egypt; so far so good. But before Matthew moves on in the story, he adds something very odd. He adds that this event of baby Jesus going into Egypt fulfills Hosea 11:1, which says, "Out of Egypt I called my Son."

Make sense to you? You must stop and ponder this for a while. How in the world does the baby Jesus going into Egypt fulfill this statement in Hosea? The statement in Hosea doesn't even seem like a prophecy, does it? It is just a statement of fact. In the Old Testament Israel was called God's son. In the exodus God called his son out of Egypt. The Hosea passage is looking back to Israel in the exodus. So how is this story of baby Jesus going into Egypt the fulfillment of that verse in Hosea?

This leads to another question Matthew wanted you to ponder. Why does Matthew insert his comment in verse 15, when Jesus was first going into Egypt? If Matthew is comparing Israel coming out of Egypt with Jesus coming out of Egypt, why not place this comment after verse 21, when Jesus actually comes out of Egypt? Do you see how awkward the order seems to be? Jesus is about to enter *into* Egypt, and Matthew writes that this event fulfills the time when God called his son *out* of Egypt?

There are many riches wrapped up in this glorious verse. To appreciate its glory it will be helpful if you put your first century Jewish hats on for a moment. In the time of Christ there was one hope that united Jews from all over the world. If you were a Jew in those days, no matter how you differed from other Jews, you all would share one common hope. That hope was the coming exodus for the people of Israel back to the land of Israel.

Remember that up until the time of Christ, all hope of having a relationship with God was wrapped around the people and land of Israel. Even as a Gentile your relationship with God was dependent upon your relationship with Israel. If you wanted to be God's child, you must become an Israelite. If you wanted to worship the true God, you looked to God's temple in Jerusalem. The equation was clear: you curse Israel; God curses you. You attach yourself to Israel; you had hope in God's blessings.

There were millions of Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire, and they were all bound by an undying love for Israel. Throughout the Roman Empire, every Jew turned toward Jerusalem when he prayed. It was considered a great sin if he had irreverent thoughts when looking in that direction.

Every Jew held the same hope. God would soon send the messiah to restore Israel. The messiah would gather every Jew from the four corners of the earth and place them back in the land.

Every devout Jew prayed the following prayer daily, "Proclaim by thy loud trumpet our deliverance, and raise up a banner to gather our dispersed, and gather us together from the four corners of the earth."

Jewish writings in that day contained sentences like, "heaven and earth might be destroyed, but not Israel." They all shared the hope that soon God would gather the dispersed Jews throughout the world and return them to the land.

But that was not the end of the dream. Once back in the land the golden age of Israel would begin. The holy Israelites of the past like Abraham and Isaac would rise and take possession of the land with the present Israelites. Israel would never again be run by Gentiles; as a matter of fact, Gentiles would not even be in the land, for God would purge the land of all strangers.

But what about all the prophecies of Israel's judgment? Why did Israel believe they would be so blessed, when the Old Testament was clear that God had become angry with Israel? Had not God punished them by making them serve foreigners?

Well, the Jews did not ignore the prophets. They were fully aware that God had been angry with Israel and that they were under his judgment. But they believed God's curse would only be temporary. They believed Israel's suffering under foreign rule would satisfy God's wrath. Their view was not unlike the Roman view of Purgatory, where for a time believers might appease God's anger by suffering for their own sins.

Many have asked me how Jews can miss seeing Christ in Isaiah 53, since Isaiah 53 clearly speaks of a man's suffering and dying for our transgressions. Well, most Jewish commentaries take that man in Isaiah 53 collectively; that is, that suffering servant is the nation Israel. Israel would suffer for her own sins, and after a time of suffering they would be forgiven and God would bless Israel forever.

The hope of the first century Jews revolved around the belief that they had now paid for their suffering; God would soon come down and lead them through a second exodus; one more glorious than the first. The prophets do speak of a coming exodus for Israel greater than the first. God would come down in the messiah and rescue his people from slavery and bring them all into the land.

Now do you see what Matthew is doing in verse 15? Yes, there is a second exodus coming, but who is the Son of God who experiences this exodus? The nation of Israel? No, the Son who experiences the exodus is Jesus! Israel as a son only pictured Christ the true Son. This is what Matthew wants you to see.

Matthew realizes this would offend the Jews around the world, but he cannot keep quiet. The hope of the Jew must be transferred from a nation to a person, from Israel to Jesus. For the one who wants God's blessing, God's promises. God's forgiveness, God's presence, God's grace, God's exodus, the picture has disappeared; the reality has arrived.

The only way to God's eternal blessing is through His beloved Son, the true and everlasting Israel, Jesus Christ. He has become our exodus! He is the Son who receives all of God's blessings. We can only be blessed in Him.

Now most of you realize that many Christians today, especially in America, don't get this. They still place many of their hopes in the nation Israel. They even suggest that your relationship with God depends upon your relationship with the modern state of Israel.

But Matthew says no. The exodus is fulfilled when God's Son, Jesus Christ, is called out of Egypt. He is the Son Israel pictured in the first exodus. Your only hope for going from slavery to freedom is in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament Israel. Each gospel writer brings this truth home in a different way. John records our Lord affirming that he was the true temple that will be resurrected. The Old Testament promised the resurrection of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus says I am the true temple that will be resurrected.

Matthew will bring this truth home another glorious way. The first seven chapters of Matthew have Jesus reliving Israel's history. Jesus relives Israel's history, so we can see that Jesus is the true Israel who receives all the promises.

We saw the obvious comparison between Pharaoh and Herod. Both sought to destroy the covenant mediator by slaughtering male babies. As Moses escaped Pharaoh, Jesus escapes Herod. As Israel went into Egypt and is then called out of Egypt, Jesus enters Egypt and is then called out of Egypt.

What happened to Israel after they escaped Egypt? According to the Apostle Paul, they were baptized into the Red Sea. What happens to Jesus in Matthew 3 after he returns from Egypt? Jesus is baptized in the Jordan. Do you see the pattern?

After Israel passed through the sea they were led by a cloud into the wilderness to be tested. The cloud was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. What happens to Jesus in Matthew 4? Jesus is lead by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested. Do you see it? Jesus is reliving Israel's history.

What does Jesus do in Matthew 5-7? Well, Jesus ascends a mountain and gives his people his law. Sound familiar? Matthew does not want you to miss this! Jesus relives the whole history of Israel. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fulfills all the promises throughout the Old Testament given to Israel. He is the true Son, the true Israel, and all those in Him will receive the promises of God.

As glorious as this is, I hope you are still left with a question or two. Yes, we see now that Israel as a nation finds its fulfillment in Christ, but what about verse 15? How does the baby Jesus going into Egypt fulfill the Hosea quote? How does Jesus going into Egypt bring about the second exodus promised throughout the Old Testament?

And why does Matthew place his comment in verse 15 before Jesus goes into Egypt? Why not place it after verse 21, where it would naturally read, "and he rose and took the Child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, `out of Egypt I called my Son.'" Doesn't that make more sense?

Do you see the problem? I hope so, or the rest of this sermon is not going to make much sense to you. Matthew places the Hosea quote of the son coming out of Egypt before Jesus even goes into Egypt. Matthew expects you to seek the answer by remembering the context of the quote from Hosea.

In Hosea 11 Hosea is explaining why God will soon punish Israel. God will punish Israel because even though God called Israel his son and brought him out of Egypt, Israel still rebelled against God.

This punishment on Israel is a fulfillment of the covenant between God and Israel. We read back in Deut 28 that if Israel did not obey the Mosaic Law, God would exile them out of the land and return them to slavery. Deut 28:68 actually used the language of a return back to Egypt. Egypt represented slavery under foreign rule. Egypt represented the place of God's curse and judgment.

And so Hosea declares that Deut. 28 is about to come true for the rebellious nation. Israel would be exiled out of the land and become slaves again to a foreign power. They will be under God's curse. Out of Egypt and back into Egypt. Because of their disobedience they were sent back into captivity where they came from.

When Jesus was born Israel was still in captivity. Most of the Jews were scattered throughout the Gentile world, and Israel herself was under Roman rule. Israel realized they were still under God's punishment. Yet they were all eagerly waiting the second exodus back into Israel.

But how could they be saved from God's curse if they are receiving what they deserve? The unbelieving Jews assumed they could pay for their own sin through their suffering. But Matthew provides the answer by placing his comment after verse 15, before Jesus enters Egypt.

Do you see it? Jesus goes into Egypt and Matthew says, this fulfills the statement, "out of Egypt I called my son." This statement from Hosea 11:1 was a prophecy because the first exodus was a picture of a greater exodus to come. There will come another time when God will call his son out of Egypt. The second exodus is now here because Jesus goes into Egypt.

It is exactly because Jesus goes into the land of slavery that we can be free from God's wrath and curse; that we can be in the final exodus. That is why Matthew places verse 14 before Jesus goes into Egypt. The only way we can have an exodus from curse to blessing, from slavery to freedom, is if one bears our curse for us; if one goes into captivity in our place.

It is by Jesus going into Egypt that we are brought out of Egypt. Matthew is blowing the trumpet; he is declaring to you that Jesus is the one who goes into captivity for his people's sake, that they may be truly free. Jesus is our exodus! Jesus is going into Egypt for us!

Now Jesus doesn't fulfill the exodus by going into Egypt as a child. Matthew wants you to see the deeper significance of Jesus' journey into Egypt. Jesus fulfills the exodus for you by entering into the place of covenant breakers and experiencing the curse for his people. The journey to Egypt as a baby foreshadowed our Lord's journey to the cross as an adult.

And this exodus is much greater than the first. That first exodus was only temporary and concerned the things of the body. In Christ we are freed from eternal condemnation, we are freed from God's wrath and final judgment. We are brought into an eternal Promised Land, heaven itself. We have forgiveness of sins and the love of God forever. In Christ we are now adopted sons of God.

This exodus is much better than the first. After the first exodus Israel could only maintain her status as a blessed people if she obeyed the Law. If she did not obey the whole law she would lose her status as God's son and be sent back into slavery. Do any of you want to be under that arrangement?

The second exodus is better than the first, it is based upon better promises. Matthew wants to assure you that Jesus going into the place of captivity and judgment accomplishes your complete exodus, your full redemption.

How practical is this? Well, do you ever fear that God will give up on you? He cast out Israel, why not you? How can you be assured that God won't give up on you? Matthew provides the answer. If you trust in Christ for your salvation, your redemption is eternally accomplished. Jesus already went into Egypt for you. Jesus was already cast into slavery; he purchased your freedom eternally and completely, no matter how difficult your struggle with sin is.

Parents, affirm over and over again with your children the glory of the gospel message. Assure them of Christ's work for them. Urge them to live faithfully for their Savior.

Beloved, walk as free men. Pray to God daily because Christ has taken away your fear of condemnation. Serve the Lord faithfully because he has freed you. In Christ you have already entered a land flowing with milk and honey. The Lord has already been cast out in your place, that you may enter the Promised Land. You who in Christ are God's true Israel. Amen.



* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Todd Bordow, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: http://www.opcfw.com/

(c) Copyright 2003, Rev. Todd Bordow

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